When I picture summer in the Midwest, I picture busy farmers markets, warm sun, and cool evenings spent lakeside with friends and family. I see fields of corn and colorful wildflowers on the open highways on the outskirts of the city. We spend a few weekends each summer at the lake and on the nice days I always make my husband pull off the highway on the way in or out of town to collect bunches of wildflowers. While I love my farmers’ market blooms, nothing beats picking up a bunch of colorful flowers for free.
Here we will share some of the more commonly found flowers local to Columbus and frequently found in “weeded” areas or overgrown back alleys. We will also show you how to arrange them.
Purple Loosestrife- this flower grows close to water and has a thicker stem with a tall thin profile. Add one to your arrangement as a focal piece
Clover- most people are used to small white clovers that grow in untreated lawns but larger purple clovers are all over overgrown areas. The light purple flower and thin whimsical stem makes a nice, soft addition to an arrangement
Ironweed- the deep purple and seedy look of this flower adds texture and visual variety to your arrangement. Find this flower growing in areas close to water like near lakes and reservoirs.
Cone Flower- you’re probably used to seeing cone flower in it’s typical pink petal but did you know that this flower has white and red/orange varieties? I typically find these overgrowing in back alleys or yards.
Cosmos- cosmos come in a variety of colors and also add a touch of whimsy to your arrangement. Be careful with these delicate flowers when working with them as they tend to break easily!
Queen Anne’s Lace- one of the most common “weeds”, these can sometimes set off allergies but if you can tolerate them, they make a great addition to a bouquet or arrangement, especially as a filler flower.
Daisy Weed- these dainty little flowers are all over weeded areas. The white flowers looks great solo for a simple cluster of blooms or in an arrangement as a smaller filler flower.
Black Eyed Susan- these guys tend to take over the areas where they are planted. They can be smaller or larger in petal size and the yellow adds a great pop of color to an arrangement or bouquet.
Zinnias- these guys are the stunners in wild flower arrangements. While they are actually annuals and don’t come back each year like most wild flowers, I just personally can’t picture a summer arrangement without these. You can typically find them in yards and are great cutting flowers (but ask before you cut one from your neighbor!)
To put together a pro-looking arrangement yourself, follow these easy steps:
- Step 1- Find the perfect vessel for you arrangement and insert a flower frog or piece of floral foam
- Step 2- Insert greenery in a variety of heights (here we used random weeds that we found growing in our back alley, I was attracted to the intricate leaf pattern)
- Step 3- Add your taller and thicker flowers into the center and on the edges of the arrangement
- Step 4- Insert smaller filler flowers in varying heights
Add water to your finished arrangement and display out of direct sunlight.
- Keep clippers and a water bottle in your car so you’re always prepared and ready to cut flowers when you see them
- Kirstin of Bear Roots Floral recommends pulling off leaves that will fall below the water line in your arrangement
- Forage greenery from unexpected places like trees, bushes, or overgrown, weeded areas, the possibilities are endless!
- Always pick or buy (if you’re not in the hunter gatherer mood), more flowers than you expect to use when putting together an arrangement in case a few break (Bonus tip- save the tops of broken or extra flowers and use them as cake or dessert toppers!)
- To keep flowers fresh, cut the stems and change the water daily
Not feeling the forage? Skip the grocery store and support local by checking out some of these great business:
- Sunny Meadows Flower Farm
- Rose Bredl
- Bear Roots Floral
- Jewelweed Floral Studio
- Market Blooms at North Market